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Otago Lifts International Enrolment Cap to 15 per cent


Tuesday 18 September 2012 3:25pm

International students on laptop.

Today the University of Otago announced that it will raise the cap on international student enrolments to 15 per cent, up from the current 12 per cent. The new cap will take effect from next year.

Professor Sarah Todd, Pro Vice-Chancellor International, says increasing the cap to 15 per cent will provide scope for more than 500 extra international students to come to the University to study. Professor Todd added that New Zealand is rated among the best in the world for delivering a quality experience[i] to international students, and Otago leads on many of the indicators.

With this established record in mind, the University will continue its focus on quality and balance when lifting international enrolments, says Professor Todd.

“We are fully committed to the new 15 per cent cap, and at the same time we are also aware of the need to deliver a quality education and lifestyle to every overseas student who comes to Otago and Dunedin. Each student must feel welcomed and valued.”

The requirement Otago has in place stipulating that no more than 25 per cent of students come from any one country remains.

“It is important that the cohort of international students is diverse. Otago currently has over 100 different countries represented over a range of different subject areas, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

“We value the diversity our current system offers because it is important that our domestic students learn more about the wider world from international students. The vibrancy international students add to both the University and the wider Dunedin community cannot be underestimated.”

The 12 per cent cap came into force for 2003, and replaced a previous cap of 10 per cent. Otago’s international roll has more than doubled, from 1235 students in 2001, to 2798 students last year (2011). Currently, Otago has the third highest percentage of international students of New Zealand universities.

Professor Todd says it is difficult to predict the future rate and speed of growth Otago could expect in its international enrolments under the new 15 per cent cap.

Current factors influencing international student numbers include the on-going impact of the global financial crisis, particularly for key sending partners in the USA, coupled with the strong New Zealand dollar affecting affordability, and strong competition from countries and regions that previously were sources of international students but are now working hard to attract inbound students, she says.

However, planning is already underway for a number of initiatives, including new postgraduate qualifications that are expected to prove attractive to international students.

Source: International Student Barometer 2011/12.

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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